Why Do Elephants Flap Their Ears When It's Hot In Africa? - Do Elephants Flap Their Ears When Angry?

Updated: 26 Aug 2021


It is the most commonly asked question, Why do elephants flap their ears? Before discussing this topic, we want to describe some qualities of an elephant’s ears. An African elephant has gigantic ears. The height and width of each ear are around six feet and five feet, respectively. The weight of a single ear can reach 100 pounds. An elephant may react by opening its ears wide and turning toward anything it may feel is a threat when it is furious or threatened.


The primary function of an elephant's ears is to sense temperature, and the amount of heat they can disperse depends on their size. African elephants require more oversized ears because they live in a sunny, hotter climate than Asian elephants. In this article, we will focus on what does it mean when elephants flap their ears?

Why Do Elephants Flap Their Ears?

Elephants do not sweat to lower their body temperature. They send their blood to their ears to cool it, and the action of waving ears cools the blood. The main arteries are located in the upper part of the skin behind their ears. They cool their blood by flapping their ears, and then the same blood circulates throughout their body. Elephants can stay calm in Africa because of the blood cooling process!

Elephants flap their large and compact ears to reduce body heat and control blood temperature. Elephants wave their ears to dissipate body heat and cool down a bit. They use their ears to cool nearby areas like the head and shoulders. It has a different meaning when they pour water on themselves or others or sit under the shade of plants.

Elephants use their large ears for a variety of purposes. One benefit is that when they get heated, they can cool off. As the elephants flap their ears, heat may be expelled since the blood flowing through them is near to the outside of the animal's body. Others believe that the large ears may direct sound into the inner ear, improving hearing. Elephants may also make threats using their large ears. Elephants can employ this stance to intimidate other elephants or other animals because it makes them appear considerably bigger than they truly are.

Why Do Elephants Flap Their Ears When It's Hot?

Elephants increase blood circulation to their ears and flap their ears to dissipate body heat in hot temperatures. Elephants can lower their blood heat by 10 degrees Fahrenheit by only waving their ears. The soft cover of the animal's ears allows air to get through, chilling the blood as it travels through a network of arteries within the ears on its way back to the body.

Why Do Elephants Flap Their Ears So Much?

Elephants often flap their ears because they want to control their body temperature by keeping their blood cool and saving energy to protect themselves from the heat.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do Elephants Flap Their Ears When Happy?

Flapping ears can convey enthusiasm and pleasure. You can hear the flapping of ears from afar. Many elephants raise their ears and come into touch with the main elephant due to this sound.

2. Do Elephants Flap Their Ears When Angry?

Some individuals mistakenly think that an elephant's ear flaps indicate anger. But it is not valid. The animal's waving ears are employed to keep it cool. If an elephant approaches you, its ears spread, and its head is raised, it is a sign of aggression.

3. How Do Elephants Use Their Ears?

Elephant uses their ears to control body warmth and let the surplus body heat leave the animal. They utilize their large ears as fans to keep their body cool, which is another reason why they have large ears. Their ears may reduce body temperature by up to 5° Celcius, or 9° F!

Elephants have big ears densely loaded with vascular structures that allow a significant amount of blood to flow through them. The elephant's ear flaps act as a massive circulation plate to improve heat transmission from the elephant's body to the surroundings.

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